With the cost of oil and propane, in addition to an increase in the electric bill many are opting to use wood as a source of heat. Many, like ourselves, use wood as a primary source of heat. What does this entail? Finding free wood, and storing it in a manner which keeps it dry throughout the winter months.
Constructing a Holzhausen
I had proposed to A Farm Guy a few months back that we should stack our wood using the holzhausen method. This method can be found across Europe and has been around for many centuries. It was primarily used in the process of clearing land; trees could be cut down, split, and stacked wherever the landowner was working at the time.
It’s a self standing structure which does not need to be braced or stacked in a wood shed. The technique is simple, and built in a circle format allowing for the wood to support itself. Stacking wood in the traditional fashion ~flat stacked upon each other~ does not give it enough room for airflow to pass through, therefore not allowing the wood to dry quickly. The holzhausen method has plenty of airflow, and it is said that wood can dry up to 2 times faster.
It took a bit of time for my darling farm guy to process this in his carpenter’s mind, but he quickly realized that a circular structure is more durable than anything one can build, and keeping the wood away from the house also meant keeping the wood ants and termites away.
The first step is to create a base, and establishing the width you’d like to have it be.
As you place your first row of wood, you can see that it is angling down. The process of angel stacking begins early on in the process.
Once you have the base established we suggest you build it up to about 2 feet tall and begin filling in the center. The ideal pieces for the center would be oddly split wood, branches, and even kindling.
In order for the water to drain, and to continue the tapering process, you will need to use spacers to lift a row. How often you need to add spacers and where you will need it depends on the shape of your cut pieces. The way the wood fits together allows for minor spacing, and airflow to flow through the structure.
As you can see, this is a solid structure; an older boy of ours is standing on the top of it, he even took joy in making me nervous by jumping on it!
When we first shared the holzhausen method onto our FB page it brought forth a few questions, so I thought we’d address them here.
Some thought that this method would time a lot longer to stack than stacking in a traditional method. I have to tell you , that it does not. A Farm Guy states that this method is much faster than stacking in a wood box, you do not have to worry about making pieces fit together or stacking them tight. With a holzhausen you can put any size of wood wherever you wish; no puzzle to piece together, no extra wood box to build. As A Farm Guy split the wood I was stacking as fast as he was able to split it. The method is so easy to do that our 7 and 10 year old were able to assist us in stacking…we are teaching them young!
A few thought that the wood would remain wet from rain or snow, and have a hard time drying. Because you are stacking your wood at an inward angle the water rolls right off, unlike flat stacking there is never standing water causing the wood to rot.
Some holzhausens are built with roofs, some simply have tarps on them (ours have tarps), but many Europeans and Americans alike have stated that it is not necessary to have either.